COVID-19, Analytics, and You: An Incomplete List of Considerations

By | 03/16/2020

Before I dive into this – I just want to say that I hope all of you and your family are staying safe. This post isn’t intended to ignore the suffering that’s going on. Among everything else in this world, people are what’s important. We’re fortunate enough to work in an industry that allows flexibility to work from home, and maybe you’re home while you’re reading this article. This article isn’t about anything medical. It’s about analytics. More specifically, how will the COVID-19 pandemic affect your data? I worked with my colleagues at Search Discovery to compile a list of a few considerations you might want to communicate to your stakeholders.

Your IP filters probably don’t work…

Internal IP

…Especially if you work for a large enterprise. As more businesses enforce remote work, those handy IP ranges are now a lot less useful. Unless you’re on VPN, you’re now on your own unique IP address. This could easily saturate your key metrics.

Recommendation

For smaller companies, I recommend updating your IP filters with folks who are doing the most production testing. For larger companies, hopefully folks are using VPN. If not, you might need to get creative. One option might be to send out a link with a campaign ID to your company (good luck with this one). This will let you build a segment to filter out internal traffic. It’s far from reliable, but it’s something. Otherwise, just be transparent and set proper expectations.

Site traffic will probably increase

traffic trend

A quarantine means people are spending more time at home. That means they’re more likely to be doing something on the internet. College students and employees won’t be behind a firewall, so there will be some degree of saturation. Expect website traffic to increase. For content websites (looking at you, Twitch/YouTube), this is great; and while one might assume this is a blessing for eCommerce… well, I’m not as bullish.

Online revenue won’t get much better, unless…

… you’re selling home gym equipment, video-conferencing software, food, or toilet paper (apparently). A quarantine will likely lead to a higher percentage of consumers engaging in online shopping. Meanwhile, some companies will be spending money on ads trying to convince people who aren’t getting a paycheck to spend money.

Ads will get more expensive

If we’re all working from home and IP filters aren’t set up, we’re also getting retargeted. Pair that with fewer overall purchases (though more online) and you’ve got less efficient ads. So what can you do about it? If you want to go nuclear, one strategy might just be to block your city/state from retargeting. Only do this if you have 5,000-10,000 centrally-located employees in one spot. I’m looking at you, banks in Charlotte.

Layoffs are coming

This is the worst part. Layoffs will happen. Maybe it will be me (wouldn’t be the first time). Maybe it will be you. If you get laid off, it’s not because you’re unqualified or because you did anything wrong. We’re living through a global phenomenon. These are unique circumstances and you’ll come out the other end OK. Focus on staying safe and reach out if there’s something I can do to help.

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